How to thrive on furlough, according to an expert

Back for another blog post, counsellor and therapist Sharayah Sinek is sharing her thoughts on thriving during furlough. 

Firstly, in regard to working from home we are all different so what might work for one person may not work for another so take this time to allow yourself to explore how you work best.

Break up your day

It can be helpful to break up your day into small chunks so that you feel you are achieving small goals rather than facing one long day. It also encourages you to be more disciplined. Make sure that you start and end your working at specific times.  Designate breaks in-between and write a list of what you need to get done and by when.

Reward yourself

This kind of speaks for itself. Have your favourite chocolate bar when you submit that piece of work or a glass of wine after a stressful day. Go for that walk at lunch time and listen to the birds tweeting or feel the sun on your face to clear your head. Whatever it is that feels like a treat, do it. You deserve it and it reminds you that you are achieving something.

Have a designated work space in your home

A specific space or room that is allocated purely for work helps to focus the mind on the task at hand, so that when you enter that space you know that it is time to work. This also helps to leave work at work and switch off at the end of the day. It is vital to have the distinct difference when working from home so that you are able to relax and switch off.

However, for some of us the sad reality of the coronavirus will find some of us in a position of redundancy or being furloughed. Many are losing their livelihoods and face a very uncertain future, so I totally understand how remaining positive may be the hardest thing to do right now.  Here are some ideas on how you can remain positive throughout this testing time.

Be Present

Trying to plan or predict the future in the middle of all this is pretty much impossible. All we know is the present so trying to remain as much in the present as we can is a way to cope among all the uncertainty. Bring yourself back to what is tangible when the panic starts to set it. For example, say: “I know that I have food in my fridge, I know that I have electricity, I know that there is a roof over my head.”

This is an opportunity

There can be a silver lining to this. You have been put in a situation that forces you to evaluate your life. This is an opportunity to pursue something you have always wanted to but never have for whatever reason. Many of us have got stuck in a job that pays the bills but doesn’t fulfil our passion. Let yourself dream again and pursue those things that make your pulse race a bit faster with excitement. Whether it is writing that book you have been meaning to or applying for that course.

Lean on others

We have become a society that is far too individual. We have lost a sense of community and togetherness which is integral to our genetic makeup. People need people. We need each other. You do not have to do this on your own. There are people in your life who care about you and want to help and support you. Ask for help when needed, it does not make you weak or a failure. We really are stronger together.

Make sure that you are talking to friends and family members about your emotions. I also think it is important to remind yourself that this is not forever, even though it might feel like it now, there will be an end to this, and you will be able to bounce back. If you are in need of some more advice here are some helplines that might be useful.

The main Helplines:


To talk about anything that is upsetting you

Call: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)


Cruse Bereavement Care

Call: 0808 808 1677 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)



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